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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Drone Wars

Iaman is poking around on Quora, and comes across this question:

What do soldiers do when they are pinned by a sniper who is out of their firing range?

Which prompted this answer from David Hambling:

SwitchBlade (aka ‘the flying shotgun’) is made for exactly this situation. It's a five-pound lethal portable drone that can be launched from its tube from behind cover, and can fly for 15 minutes (range of several miles), send back visual and IR imagery to locate a target — then destroy it with a hand-grenade sized warhead in a kamikaze attack. Over 4000 have been used by US special forces in Afghanistan. The LMAMS program will roll them out to more US forces from 2018.
Details here -
Several other nations have their own versions of the lethal portable drone. The Chinese CL-901, which is somewhat larger, was announced last year and is available on the export market, as is the Polish Warmate. This Israelis are leaders in the field of drones, and produce a number of models, the most notable of which is the ROTEM-L, a quadcopter carrying an explosive warhead, which is useful in urban canyons and other tight spaces which might be difficult for a fixed-wing craft like the Switchblade. This is apparently already in service with some Israeli Special Forces units.
Expect to see a lot more like this over the next couple of years. They can even be deployed by non-state actors; ISIS have made their own mini-kamikaze fleet from modified commercial drones. They are great anti-sniper weapons, but this also suggests the way the future is going: the sniper will not be shooting at you with a rifle, but will be several miles away, behind cover, launching a series of lethal drones of his own.
And that’s when we start getting into swarm battles between attacking and defending drones….

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